Costing Brand Development

If you’re a small business and you’re starting up, it can be unnerving to think about spending a fortune on branding. Every penny counts after all. It can also be difficult to get a clear answer on what to focus on, and how much you can expect to spend.

Costing Brand Development
Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog
Giles Taylor, May 19, 2020

As an agency, we work with start-ups every day of the week, so we decided to put a small guide together for anyone else in this position. So, you can get some idea of what start-up branding should entail, and why brand development is so important to your brand.

Where to start costing brand development

First and foremost, the annoying thing is that there’s no hard and fast rule for costing brand development. Every business is different. You’ll have varying budgets, goals and market challenges. There are, however, some common themes when it comes to defining what you need to think about. But more on that in a moment.

Each new business is funded differently. It may be from your savings, you could have help from other sources. Whatever your situation and amount of money in the pot, it’s good to break it down and set aside a percentage for branding. Why? Because a clear brand identity will set you apart in the marketplace. 

You only have to think about global leaders to see how effective that is in the real world. But, for yourself, think of it as your way in! Every marketplace has competitors. The more your propositions stand out and resonate with your audience, the more traction you can hope to gain. Experts generally recommend dedicating somewhere between 5-15% of your total start-up budget on branding

A quick check on your calculator will give you an idea of what your budget will look like once working out the percentages here. Here at W/Brand, we often see clients spend about 10% of their total start-up budget. That includes our work with cloud-based businesses Illapa, Inca and Gelos.

Cloud business brand identity for Inca. 

Cloud business brand identityCloud business brand identity for Illapa. 

What should be included in start-up branding

So, you’ve probably now got a budget range in your head. Depending on the number of noughts on that figure, you’re now mentally moving onto what exactly that should be spent on. Maybe even how far it will stretch.

Most start-up branding projects will include strands like this:

  • Creating a visual identity that will extend across all your online and printed materials 
  • Crafting your  brand story and market positioning, this can range from finding your core values and articulating them in the best way, to training all your employees and developing thorough competitor analysis 
  • Developing your website and company logo
  • Refining your company’s name 

You only need to read through the list of requirements here to see how much it can vary from one start-up to another. For example, you might already have your company name nailed on. You might only be a team of two, or one! So, comms training isn’t necessary. 

What about branding cost?

Ok, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. And just how much do all these elements cost? Again, the teeth clenching reality is that depending on the complexity of each project, it will vary. But let’s give you a clue. 

Anywhere between £5,000 and £30,000+ are considered rough budget brackets for a small business brand cost. Things like market research can creep from modest expenditure upwards with just a few variables added to the brief. If you’re looking at spending around £4,500 upwards on a basic website, and £1,500 upwards on brand guidelines, you’re on the right track.   

In conclusion...

It’s hard to find definitive costs for costing brand development from a quick google search, and that’s because like everything else in the realms of starting up, it varies by company. That doesn’t mean that you have to go in completely blind though. 

Having a very rough idea of what sort of prices you can expect are one thing. But more importantly, dedicating the right percentage of your budget to your brand development will help you get off on the right foot. That, and finding the right agency to help you develop your branding and stay on budget. 

W/Brand has a strong track record in working with start-ups across the globe. Our expertise is in tailored creative solutions and brand development. And we do all this both remotely and with locally-based companies. To find out more about our services, and the businesses we’ve helped from starting up and beyond, take a look at our work and services. Or, get in touch now and we’ll take you through your options.

App Startup Brand Identity

Walking App Brand Identity

Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog

Giles Taylor

Giles is the founder and creative director for W/Brand. A graphic designer from Reading in Berkshire, UK, he's a dad with two wonderful children who enjoys walking and playing the guitar.  

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